I find the idea of sharing when I first surrendered my heart to Christ to be an intriguing concept. The reason for this is that when I look back on my life, I can not really remember a time that I did not cry out to God for my comfort. Perhaps I didn't always understand Jesus as my savior, but I certainly understood that he was my Lord for as long as I can remember. The interesting thing about this is that I did not grow up in a Christian home, we did not attend church ever, and other than I simple child's prayer that my grandmother once taught me, we didn't pray together either. However, I can remember that simple little prayer to this day, even is my grandmother, who raised me, wasn't consistent with keeping it up. I've just always known that there was something bigger than me out there and I've always known that we call that something God. A little later I would happen upon a children's book about Jesus. I have no idea where it came from, but it was in my possession for some reason. Perhaps it was given to me. I just can't remember. Anyway, in this book the author was trying to explain how Satan comes in many disguises, how he can even come disguised as an angel! Now I'm not knocking the author, as I'm certain his or her heart was in the right place, but can you just imagine a young girl's literal imagination running away with that concept? The devil disguised as an angel! How on earth was I supposed to tell the difference? What if an angel appeared in my room? How would I know if he or she was the real deal? If anything has ever been the cause of a little girl embracing an active prayer life, that book CAUSED it!! I prayed every night to God for God to not allow the DEVIL to come into my room disguised as an angel because it was just too frightening to fathom. I later understood the deeper meaning, but you get the picture. So to pinpoint the exact moment that I gave my heart over to God is difficult for me. Although it would be years later before I would officially make a verbal request for the Lord to enter my heart, the truth is, he always had my heart. I grew up in less than ideal circumstances, as I'm sure many of you have as well, and during my darkest hours in my younger years it was always "my" God that I cried out to, that I thanked, that I praised, that I FEARED! I do mean feared in the literal sense. Since I didn't go to church and didn't share my life with other followers, I had no basis for really understanding God's true heart. So there was a period during which I fervently believed that one wrong move could and WOULD get me struck down by lightning! I had quite an active imagination. Of course time passes as it will and little girl hearts are forced to grow up and during my growing up I pulled away from God, ran away at times even, but I always find my way back. Actually, that's not quite true. He always finds a way to pull me back to him, sometimes against my own will. I am so thankful that's the case and that his love is that strong for me. He brought me through my childhood and he continues to bring me through today. I can remember that I was probably between 10 -12 when I was first baptized, but I only understood it as a ritual. I understood I was supposed to follow God and his ways, but I didn't quite understand his endless love for me. It was until later when thinking back on it that I realized I have always had a very personal relationship with God. Despite my fear of divine lightning strikes, I would get angry with God and we'd hash it out, then later I'd apologize, disbelieving my own bravado towards one so great. Now I know that our relationship was truly a relationship between a father and his daughter. He WAS the father I so desperately needed and did not have in the flesh. I now know that he was not angry with me even when I was angry with him. I now know that he was hurting for me and with me through my deepest hurts. I would later get baptized again in my early twenties. I think I believed that I needed to rewash my sins because I'd fallen so far away from God. I didn't understand that we can never fall too far away. That's a huge relief considering I would have had to go through the cleansing process enough to drown a person by now! So though there were specific times that I went through the rituals and even times when the rituals and "religion" of God caused me to miss the heart of God, there has never been a moment that I haven't felt his presence watching over my life. Ironically, even when I have tried to deny God, there has been a fear that he's mad of me for my denial. How does that work? I'm denying your existence, but please don't strike me down for my denial. If that isn't belief in it's purest form, I don't know what is. :) I understand God's perfect love and I understand the idea of salvation now. However, I'd like to get to know my Savior even more personally and I'd like to believe that I am truly worthy of his love for me so that I might live out my life in the confidence that only Christ can provide.
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